Does achievement kill desire? Does winning dull inner drive? How can businesses keep pushing further while celebrating success?
These questions have been debated for years by leaders of teams and organizations.
Looking at sports teams as an example, this conflict is more clearly apparent than business due to the seasonality of their competitions. When teams assemble talent and through proper strategy, coaching, and execution, victory is achieved. What happens when the next year arrives and the team falters by delivering a “first to worst” performance? Achievement is not easy to duplicate without proper focus. Despite this, some teams are consistently winning or in the mix to win year in and year out. How do they keep their teams focused on new goals each year?
Businesses can look to their structures, personnel, training, and accountability to learn strategies to perform through their fiscal “season” and deliver results. The question then becomes, “How do keep your team focused once goals are met?”
Sales teams represent a simple example due to the fact it is a numbers driven result and every business focuses on sales. In this example a team’s monthly goal was to sell 100 units. At the end of the month they sold 120 units–a huge success for the team met with celebrations and. congratulations. There are now two different paths for the team’s manager to take: one will help them achieve their results every month, and the other will lead to inconsistent results in the future. Let’s examine each.
The manager will stand in front of their team and say, “Team, we just had a great month. We exceeded our goals let’s go out and do it again. Let’s blow up the numbers this month and do even better.” Everyone is excited for the new month, but an intrusive thought creeps in–“I don’t really remember what I did last month to hit my goals.” They worked hard and will once again work hard this month, but without someone to reinforce the actions it took to create success, it may lead to inconsistent performance.
Speaking in generalized terms or motivational concepts will not help the team repeat the actions needed to deliver results.
The consistent manager will celebrate with the team, set out specific goals for the next month, and look at each person’s individual performance. Even when a team wins, there are some individuals who did not achieve their personal goals. The manager will need to work with them to fill any gaps in understanding or execution.
The manager will need to do this as well for each individual who exceeded their goal, sitting down with each person, congratulating them on a great job. Next, they will need the team member to explain the actions they performed in order to sell the units. Remember: actions generate results. Anchoring this behavior with each member will help to repeat that behavior each month. By agreeing on actions, managers will find it easier to make sure these are happening and if not, they can easily get their team back on track through training.
If the individuals are hitting their goals consistently, it may be time to increase their personal goals to continually challenge performance. If new actions are needed to achieve this new level of performance, training will be required.
The key for successful managers is to focus on actions, train the team when needed, and never stop tweaking goals. Solely focusing on the end result will lead to inconsistencies and frustrations.